Brookfield Central’s principal quits; Communication problems led to


Brookfield Central’s principal quits

Communication problems led to Cerutti’s resignation, superintendent says

Brookfield — Brookfield Central High School Principal Mark Cerutti’s abrupt resignation just three months into the school year was accepted Tuesday night by the Elmbrook School Board.

Elmbrook School Superintendent Matt Gibson said that Cerutti, 47, resigned his $93,180-per-year position because he has had ongoing problems communicating and connecting with Central High teachers and staff.

The notice of Tuesday night’s board meeting stated board members would discuss an “employee investigation.” But Gibson said Cerutti “didn’t offer up his resignation because of an investigation or because of a suspension.”

Cerutti was suspended with pay Nov. 5, he added.

Cerutti did not return calls for comment.

In his Nov. 13 resignation letter to Gibson, Cerutti wrote: “Employment outside the district affords me challenges and opportunities I am interested in pursuing and am requesting to do so. . . . It has been my privilege and pleasure working as principal of Brookfield Central High School.”

Gibson said Cerutti wants to find another job in the education field.

Cerutti was in his second year of a two-year contract as Central’s principal. His contract was set to expire in June.

His departure comes as the School Board is working on plans to raze Brookfield Central and East high schools and build new schools.

Gibson said that Cerutti was talented at developing strategies to improve school performance but had problems relating with his staff on a personal level. Some teachers and staff had repeatedly complained that Cerutti was too critical and business-like and lacked skills in building teamwork, trust and cooperation.

“Mark Cerutti has many strengths, and I think this (resignation) will come as a shock to many of the people in the community, and I really regret that, and he does, too,” Gibson said. “Many of the things he had going at Central were very positive. The students and the parents respected him and many of the staff respected him, yet there was this concern.”

Cerutti received attention in November 2003 when he suspended a Central High junior for five days for recording rap lyrics that threatened Cerutti. The 15-year-old boy rapped that if Cerutti didn’t leave Brookfield, he would “beat your ass down.” The boy agreed to see a counselor.

Before being hired by Elmbrook in July 2003, Cerutti worked as a educational consultant for American Family Insurance after serving as principal at Belleville High School near Madison.

In the 1990s, he served stints as principal of Whitehorse Middle School in Madison and Yahara Elementary School in the Stoughton Area School District, and as assistant principal at O’Keeffe Middle School in Madison.

Gibson said that the School Board would seek to quickly appoint an interim principal to serve until the end of the school year, with plans to hire a new principal for the fall 2005 semester.

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